Friday, October 11, 2013

Only Son (part 26 of 26)

Christians, as the latest and ongoing iterations of the sons of God (understood according to the ongoing narrative of the covenant people), are to live with hands outstretched to the world, in sympathy and compassion, desiring to share the pains and burdens they encounter, and doing so through the life-animating and life-giving Gospel (Jesus is Lord) that mysteriously turns hearers into believers and believers into doers.  It is through this group of kingdom people, who through their manifestation of the power of the Gospel as they live the lives of sons of the Creator God of Israel, that the kingdom of heaven (the power of the age to come which had been remarkably demonstrated by the Resurrection of Jesus) breaks into the present age, and the Creator God works to reverse the condemnation and cursing that had been brought into this creation and unfortunately extended by His sons that had come before.  Yes, the covenant God works in and through believers to bring restoration to His Temple by being His Temple.

If this is understood rightly, and believers comprehend that they are now the sons of God (as was Israel) in union with the Christ when they confess the Gospel (which is said to occur by the power of the Holy Spirit), then they can further understand that it this open-handed, self-sacrificial, and compassionate church of the Christ (operating with a living, breathing hope of resurrection and restoration and renewal---far more than the hope of “going to heaven when they die”) that “is the way God loved the world.”  Yes, it is the covenant people that is the church, who are those that take part in the kingdom of the Creator God that was inaugurated with the Resurrection of Israel’s Messiah, because they/it is recognized as the body of Christ and is the very present Temple of the Creator God, that is tasked to be “His one and only Son” in this world.  Why is this?  “So that everyone who believes in Him”---which includes a believing acknowledgment of the Creator and of His glory and of short-fallings in the light of that glory---“will not perish but have eternal life.” 

This eternal life, of course, is not an escape from this world, but rather an exodus from a life and condition of exile, understood within the hope of a resurrection to come in a renewed and regenerated world that has been set right by its Creator.  To that point, history (according to Israel’s defining story which provides context for Jesus and those that claim allegiance to Him) had seen the Creator God send His sons into the world, with each one seemingly wreaking more havoc than the one before.  However, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through Him” (3:17).  This is not about announcing condemnation or pointing out its/their flaws and failures in the “us versus them” dichotomy of “the church versus the world”.  Rather than saving the world, Adam, Israel, and Solomon (those recognized as the sons of God) had brought more condemnation into the world, when the Creator had intended His sons to be the salvation of the world.   

As the sons of God, believes are called to be the embodiment of the Creator God’s love for the good world that He had created and in which He desired (and still desires) to dwell.  As sons, He sends His covenant people out on a daily basis (as was true of Adam, Israel, Solomon prior to the coming of the Christ), under the call of the Lordship of Jesus, to show forth His glory through a compassionate and sensitive love that is aware of the world’s ongoing condemnation, to cause heaven to come to earth whenever and wherever the Gospel is preached and lived, so as to bring an always increasing group of sons (and daughters) into His kingdom through means of a complicit trust in Him and His promises.  Those that call Jesus Lord are to be ambassadors for the hope of resurrection and restoration, which is the promise of eternal life to be enjoyed and experienced at every moment, as they look forward, with great expectation, to that blessed hope.                   

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